10 Books Every Creative Should Read
I'll admit it, I'm a developmental junkie. And I'm proud of that fact. I talk to a lot of women in my line of work. They come to me asking for advice with their business/life, and my first question is 'what are you doing to develop yourself?' Usually the answer is something along the lines of 'I don't have time for that,' 'My priorities are elsewhere.' Basically, NOTHING.
Now I'm not unsympathetic, I understand as a creative entrepreneur (plus the many other roles we all play) that we all got a lot going on. But here's the hard truth. If you aren't actively working on developing yourself, you're going to reach a ceiling and growth (both personal and business) will stop. Heck, you may have hit that point already and that's why you came to me frustrated with your lack of progress. Well, my friend, make time to expand your knowledge base and skill set and you will start seeing changes. Plus, learning is one of life's greatest joys!
Which is why today I want to share with you 10 books that have had a huge impact on my life and work. They have been critical to my success as an entrepreneur, and can help any other aspiring business owners. While some aren't directly related to business, it's important to remember that inner work and mindset are a HUGE DETERMINANT OF OUR SUCCESS. Find time everyday to work on yourself, even if you only have 5-10 minutes, you will still reap the long-term benefits.
The Power of Now, by Eckart Tolle
This is a book I find myself revisiting a few times a year. (And I've heard the same from people I have recommended it too.) While some of the concepts may be lost on first reading, I do feel that if you come at with an open mind, you can walk away with some valuable lessons on presence.
Most of us are stuck in the past and/or future. Living in the past can leave us feeling hopeless and as if we are doomed to repeat it. Living in the future can leave us riddled with anxiety. Tolle doesn't propose denying the past or future, he proposes learning to use them tools-only pulling them out when necessary-and practicing mindfulness so you can be present enough to take action in the now.
Running a business comes with enough of its own challenges, working on your inner mind will make those challenges easier to deal with.
The Universe Has Your Back, by Gabby Bernstein
This is another book that is about inner work and perspective. The lessons are seemingly simple, but do take conscious effort. My largest takeaway from this book is to approach all of life (even the struggles) with the mindset that this is an opportunity. An opportunity to reflect and look within, and find the lesson need to improve yourself. I love this approach to life because it gives you back the power to take charge of your life and your happiness!
As an entrepreneur you will face situations that are difficult to deal with. Learning to see everything as an opportunity for growth will give you the mindset that helps you quickly get back to doing the awesome things you do.
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
There is a reason this one of the top-selling books of all time and continually gets referred to those running a business! The great thing about this book (okay, one of the great things) is that the lessons learned can be applied to all of life. It's a great lesson on social graces and can help improve your communications in business, and otherwise. As you read it, you will probably be like 'well that's obvious!' yet so many of us forget these basic things on a daily basis. Like quit criticizing, stop complaining, think of others wants first... This book is a great refresh course in communication.
Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert
I was hesitant to include this book because it seems everyone has read it. But then I decided that is exactly why I should include it, because everyone who reads it is touched and moved. Big Magic is a celebration of the creative life! One of my favorite takeaways is her take on persistence. Doubt, rejection, fear and frustration are a part of the creative life. And Elizabeth doesn't deny that, instead she proposes we focus on how we respond to these things. It's how devoted we are and much we are willing to put up with and come out of to keep at the awesome things we do. Don't wait for permission, GET SHIT (ART) DONE!
The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp
Like Elizabeth, Twlya is of the school that we don't sit around waiting for something to happen or inspiration to strike. We take action. Creativity is work and requires discipline. The language may not be as straight forward as Elizabeth. But I really love her very physical approach.
Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon
This book is highly inspirational and a quick read! Meaning that whole time complaint, out the window! This book suggests that since everything has been done, you now freedom to just make things and do what you want. The pressure is off! The ideas in this book are bite-sized chunks of wisdom and you will put it down feeling liberated and ready to create!
The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield
If you haven't noticed a theme, almost all of these books are saying 'get to work!' The War of Art is no exception. Steven talks about the resistance to work in this and that we all face that. It's important to show up and treat your dream like a full-time job. Take it seriously so it will take you seriously. It's a simple concept, but profound. I don't know a single person who didn't say 'wow' after finishing The War of Art.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R Covey
While this book is full of incredible insights, my favorite is the idea of sharpening the saw.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
Abraham Lincoln (unconfirmed)
No matter what we are doing with our lives, it's essential we commit to continued learning. We should always be improving our number one asset: ourselves.
You Are a Badass at Making Money, by Jen Sincero
Okay firstly, if you haven't heard of this lady go buy her other book as well, You are a Badass. Okay buy both, because honestly one of the biggest problems I feel we face (not just as entrepreneurs) is our relationship to money. We struggle to admit we want it (because hey, we all need to it!). We secretly worry we will never make it. We condone it as the root of all evil.
Can you see how all of this is very conflicting? Jen will help you gain a healthy money mindset with this book, which is essential if you want to make money in your business!
The Four-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss
It's hard to read this and not feel fired up. Automation is a buzz word for myself this year. This book will give you the tools you need to automate the areas of your business that maybe your heart isn't in, so you can be more fully present in the areas your passion does lie. My favorite takeaway is this:
...you are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn't make you stronger, they're making you weaker.
Tough to hear, yes. But true none-the-less!